World History & Geography
Recommended text: Usbourne Ancient World
In this class, students will develop an understanding of the definition of “civilization” including its characteristics. They will familiarize themselves with many major or well-known civilizations on each continent and geographic area. We start with an examination of Prehistory Theories of human diaspora into all continents and Oceania, except for Antarctica, and the influence of the geography upon the traits of the people and their civilizations. In short, we will begin with Pre-history.
But history is taught not just to learn about historical events, but to understand why these events are significant in our lives today, to figure out the central ideas that have shaped history, and the implications of cause and effect in history. In this class, we will take a year long journey of highlights from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, India, China and other ancient civilizations. What were the dominant cultures, laws and art forms from these great civilizations? How did they form and how did they die? Were there lessons that were learned in ancient times that we can apply to civilization today? We’ll learn about contributions from legendary philosophers such as Sun Tzu, Archimedes, Euclid, Hippassus, Confucius, and many more!
Our knowledge of the Ancients will come partly from our reading of historical fiction, classic literature and original source works to understand the major thoughts of those time periods, pivotal events and people, advances in society and how they impact us today.
While we are in Mesopotamia, we’ll read an abridged version of the Epic Poem Gilgamesh, while in Greece we’ll read an abridged version of The Illiad. We’ll learn about the great philosopher Plato as we read (and watch!) The Allegory of the Cave, and we’ll explore the Greek Myth’s using D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths. Readings that come from our other ancient civilizations will also be included, and we’ll always have our Usborne book that we read out of to explore fascinating aspects of each of our civilizations. Scientific, technological, mathematical and linguistic skill contributions to humanity and academics from each civilization, if any will also be examined.
Students will choose from a variety of projects to show mastery of independent subjects within our studies. Investigative essays, poetry, videos, posters, artwork and more will be done within the class to help each student find how they prefer to master their learning. We’ll make cuneiform tablets, build ziggurats, and construct our own codes and laws (just like Hammurabi) and more! Of course, we’ll also play games! We’ll play Chronology – a game to put events within a time period in order. The debates that arise from students playing this game are fabulous! Why MUST a particular event come before or after another event? Critical thinking related to history at its best! We will also expand our lateral thinking skills by playing “how is THIS related to THAT”, and “Where Did This Come From?”
Join us for a look at Ancient Civilizations and see how lives from thousands of years ago have contributed to the world that we live in right now!
Fall: Prehistory, Egypt, Mesopotamia & Africa
Winter: Greece, India / China / Prehistory Australia & Oceania
Spring: South & North American, Rome